Manuela Arciniegas is a program officer with the Ford Foundation’s Civic Engagement and Government team. She brings more than 20 years of experience in the racial justice nonprofit sector, ensuring young people from low-income communities grow as leaders and have the opportunity to hold their governments to account.
Prior to joining Ford, Manuela was director of the Andrus Family Fund, overseeing a grantmaking portfolio advancing policy, community organizing, direct service and capacity building for organizations serving youth advocating for change. She has additionally served as a grantmaker and community organizer across issues, including environmental justice, narrative change, arts and culture and education access.
Manuela is a funder organizer and the founder of the Visionary Freedom Fund, and serves as co-chair of Funders for Justice and on the advisory board of the Youth First State Advocacy Fund, the Youth Engagement Fund, and the Funder’s Collaborative on Youth Organizing. She is a cultural arts organizer and is the founder and director of an all-women's Afro-Caribbean drum troupe, Legacy Women, and is pursuing a PhD at the CUNY Graduate Center in Ethnomusicology.
She is a selected participant of the Soros Social Justice Fellowship and New York Humanities Fellowship and a recipient of prizes from the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, the New York State Council of the Arts, along with being recognized with the Kennedy Center’s Next 50 cultural leadership award.